Couple Faces Manslaughter Charges After Three-Month-Old Baby Dies Weighing Nine Pounds

| by Sean Kelly
Brittany Daniels in courtBrittany Daniels in court

A Bellingham, Washington couple is facing manslaughter charges in the death of their three-month-old baby who weighed only nine pounds when he died.

Prosecutors said Cody James Shields, 23, stayed up late playing video games in the hours before his son, Lucian, died. He told police that he fed the baby three six-ounce bottles of formula throughout the course of the night.

Shields' girlfriend, Brittany Shane Daniels, told police she fed Lucian four ounces of formula at 6 a.m. Though she later changed her story, saying she fed him earlier in the morning, according to the Bellingham Herald.

On Dec. 8, 2015 at 5 p.m., Shields messaged Daniels on Facebook to say the baby was dead in his crib. She called 911 and rushed home, where paramedics soon responded.

"There was nothing obvious that suggested foul play," chief criminal deputy prosecutor Eric Richey said.

Police noticed the boy looked thin, though Shields insisted that he'd been getting bigger. An autopsy revealed Lucian had almost no fat on his body at the time of his death. His stomach and small intestine were empty. The official cause of death was ruled to be malnutrition, dehydration and neglect of ordinary infant care, the Bellingham Herald reports.


At the time of his death, Lucian weighed nine pounds and seven ounces. Since birth, he gained 17 ounces. 

Shields and Daniels were arrested on $10,000 bail for the baby's death. Though superior court commissioner Alfred Heydrich said the case was ruled a homicide, it was not "an intent offense."

In a similar case in March 2014, an Arkansas woman was charged with manslaughter in the death of her malnourished child, KARK reports.

Sources: Bellingham Herald, KARK / Photo credit: Daily Mail

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